Facebook Stops That Weird “Is This Your Friend’s Real Name” Survey

    September 26, 2012
    Josh Wolford
    Comments are off for this post.

It’s not likely that you’ll receive a message from Facebook asking you to rat on one of your friends, as the company has confirmed that a recent test involving users’ real names has been completed.

Last week, Facebook began sending survey questions to a small percentage of users. The prompt read “Help us make Facebook better” and asked users “is this your friend’s real name?” Below, an image of the friend in question appeared next to a few choices including “yes,” “no,” and “I don’t want to answer.”

Facebook confirmed that they were just testing this survey and that they weren’t trying to “get anyone in trouble,” but it definitely came off as Facebook asking users to snitch on their friends.

No matter, as it’s now over. According to Facebook:

This was a limited survey we have already concluded. We are always looking to gauge how people use Facebook and represent themselves to better design our product and systems. We analysed these surveys only using aggregate data and responses had zero impact on any user’s account.


We are still analyzing the results. And no, we do not have any plans at the moment to roll out the test more broadly, but are always looking at ways to keep our users and their data safe.

Cool. But why was Facebook asking about people’s real names anyway?

You might not even realize it, but using a fake name, nickname, or alias is forbidden by Facebook guidelines. Although tons of people use Facebook and don’t provide the exact name on their birth certificates, Facebook says that they are a “community where people use their real identities.”

“We require everyone to provide their real names, so you always know who you’re connecting with,” says the company.

“When everyone uses their real first and last names, people can know who they’re connecting with. This helps keep our community safe. We take the safety of our community very seriously. That’s why we remove fake accounts from the site as we find them.”

We’ve seen examples in recent weeks of mass crackdowns on accounts with false names. Though this most recent survey question shouldn’t shock any Facebook user, it was kind of an odd one. Nobody likes to feel like a narc.

  • Joe

    God, I have so many weird usernames for each married wife and single woman I date… I must have close to 30 non real name FB accounts I just saw on Roboform. Never heard of those surveys.

  • http://www.exabytes.sg/ Jerrick

    How about someone might just change their name and give themselves a shorten name which convince people to remember but no everyone know he is currently using the name ?
    I believe some friends not even know your real name or full name.

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  • http://www.engage-2012.com/ Engage 2012 Conference

    I doubt that it won’t have any influence on the people’s accounts. Maybe not now, maybe not directly, but they will surely put some actions against those people not using their real names.

  • https://www.facebook.com/InfotologyBlog Waleed Ahmad

    Well its kinda Stupid decision!

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  • http://kevinandkarenlynch.com/ Kevin and Karen

    This reminds me of Google. Google sent out similar requests for information awhile back, with the promise that if you answered your site would not be banned…and then they did their update and “poof” all promises were off. Is facebook following Google’s lead? and if so how does that affect pages?